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What Are We Putting Out There?

March 3, 2013

Yesterday I had a bit of a nutty. My car is in the shop and Pickle and I are planning on having a garage sale next weekend. So she was kind enough to borrow her mother’s truck so we could go get a load of junk from my storage unit. Rolling up that door to the storage space is like letting ghosts out. As we moved boxes and pieces of furniture, it was like moving pieces of my past and lost future into the truck. “Am I really going to get rid of this stuff?” I found myself asking as I fought back tears and shoved things into the back of the truck.

I was also dealing with another bout of “He hasn’t called.” I hate that this affects me at all. I’ve told Pickle that I wish I could remove the desire to be with a man, to have that attention, from my brain. It’s annoying and stupid and distracting. Mr. Leo was supposed to meet me for drinks and cancelled. I told him to let me know when he was free. Nothing. Another one bites the dust. More mystery, more confusion.

These things were going through my head when Pickle started talking about her theory on meeting men. She knows several “happily” married couples with kids and she spends a lot of time with them. She says the women all have something in common, the way they deal with their husbands. She translated this observation into, “What are we putting out there?” to the men we’re meeting. What are we saying that prevents them from wanting to date us? “I think we send the message that we don’t need anybody,” she speculated. She continued with this theory as we were driving my pile of junk to her house. I started to get upset as she could clearly see. I got flustered. I got a little mad. I thought about what she said all day. Later that night I came up with this response which I e-mailed to her today. Here it is:

I’ve been thinking about what you said in the car about dating or the lack thereof. We look at our limited experience (and we are always forgetting that it is, in fact: limited) and we can’t help analyzing. “Why?” and “I don’t understand,” are constantly on our lips. The dance partner with the connection, the flirting, the kisses, the texting, the exchanges…..and it all leads to dead ends.

You have friends with seemingly healthy and happy marriages and you observe their relationships, their ways of being together and try to translate it into what to do or how to be now, as we try to meet men we’d like to date. We look at ourselves and say, “What are we putting out there? What message are we giving? What do our actions, our behavior, our dress, our look say to men we are interested in?” The primal question underneath the intellectual evaluation is: “What are we doing wrong? What’s wrong with us?”

Yet, intellectually and rationally we know that there isn’t anything wrong with us and there’s no such thing as doing the wrong thing or acting the wrong way when you’re talking about having fun or being open to connections with other people, which is the first step to friendship, lust or love.

Here’s my theory: We are animals. We are chemicals and neural networks, wired uniquely according to the strange and wondrous results of our DNA. We are protein and water and electricity. We are biologically driven to copulate and reproduce. Everything we do….social structures…..culture itself….everything we are, is motivated by our need to survive and reproduce.

Unlike the rest of the animals we are self-aware with ego. So we think that all that we do and all the we are has purpose. We use words like character and spirit. We imagine ourselves with souls. We create art and write books and make movies and write songs. We express emotional pain and joy. We make each other laugh and cry. We experience life as if we were more like angels than animals. So we imagine that there is purpose and reason to finding someone to dance with, talk with, kiss, make love to, date….love. We use the word soulmate.

Then you add the social structure of the exercise, dating. The cultural norms of the community and generation we exist in. Like language, it’s a changing phenomenon. The rules of late 80s and 90s have long sense been thrown out the window. We don’t understand why these boys do what they do or don’t do what we hope they will. We’re strangers in a strange land.

Add to that the pressure of being alone. The fear of the unknown. Add romantic notions, dreams, hopes and desires. The trauma of what we’ve experienced. The regret. The pain. And the fact that everyone playing this game with us is carrying a potentially different perspective based on diverse sets of expectations, fears, pasts, regrets, hopes, desires and skills at what they’re doing or trying to do.

I don’t know why some marriages last. I don’t know if these women in happy marriages know something we don’t. I don’t know if they, “put the right message out,” from the beginning. I don’t know what they’re doing right that I did wrong or am doing wrong. I don’t know how to do what we want to do.

This is what I’ve decided to believe, belief being another uniquely human invention. I believe that there is someone out there for me. Someone for whom I am the best thing that ever happen to them. Someone who is drawn to me no matter what I’m “putting out there.” Whether that’s shy, quiet Marie, sitting on the bench and people-watching or fun, obnoxious, silly Marie dancing and laughing and messing with people or Marie who sings out loud in the park. That person is out there. It’s just a matter of finding him or him finding me. Maybe I will meet him at Pamplona’s or The Blue Moon or Carpe Diem or the park. Maybe he will never be in those places. Maybe I’ll meet him on a plane on the way to Jakarta. Maybe I will go through 1,000 kisses on 1,000 porches. Maybe I’ll have dozens of one night stands. Maybe I will date. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll meet him tomorrow. Maybe I’ll meet him in a year, five years, ten years…..maybe never in this lifetime. Maybe I’ve already met him.

I have to believe that he is out there and that he is looking for me as much as I am for him. I choose to believe that fate is at work (as irrational a belief as any religion) and circumstances are going to bring us together when the time is right.

In the meantime, I’m going to have fun at the places I like to have fun until that changes. I’m going to keep doing what I like doing whether it’s conducive to dating or not. I’m going to kiss as many cute and interested men as I want to. I’m going to give out my phone number when it is requested and I want to give it. I’m going to go on dates. (I hope a lot more often!) I’m going to have sex when it is available and when I decide it’s what I want as often or as seldom as that turns out to be.

I’m going to keep wondering “Why?” I’m going to keep saying, “I don’t understand……why he hasn’t contacted me, why he didn’t ask for my number, why this, why that!” It’s going to continue to be difficult, confusing, fun, stupid, painful and joyful.

Someone said, “Tell the truth if for no other reason than it’s the easiest to remember.” I’m going to keep being myself if for no other reason than it’s the only thing I know how to be. No matter what message that is sending. Maybe it will take an extraordinary man to see me for who I am and pursue me nonetheless. I don’t know.

Most of all, I’m going to keep working on being enough for myself. I have a lot to do and a lot to figure out. While I work on myself, I want to have fun. If, while I’m having fun I get to flirt and kiss and dance, great. If a cute boy wants to do more than that with me, that’s great, too. I’m going to keep allowing myself to be open to these boys, even though I know most of them are going to confuse me, disappoint me and hurt me. I have to keep being open because any one of them could be him and I’m not going to find out without giving them a chance.

All I want to put out there is, “This is me. Here. Now. Today.

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From → Rantings

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